For lunch over the weekend my wife and I along with our soon to be two-year old son headed to El Jinete, a Mexican restaurant in a strip-mall on Red Bank Rd. Since moving back to Cincinnati we’ve been searching for a nearby and cheap (often strip-mall based) Mexican restaurant to call home. After a couple of tries at El Toro, it is definitely not the place for us. So how does El Jinete compare?
The inside of El Jinete is decked out in southwestern style but still has multiple TV’s in sight from nearly every seat. Near our table was an elaborate fountain, but it was not working on our visit. There is plenty of seating available and we encountered no wait upon our 12:30 arrival. We were immediately seated at a spacious booth, chips and salsa dropped off within seconds, and our server was ready to take our drink order within a minute. Things were looking good so far.
We enjoyed the chips and salsa while looking over the menu. The chips were warm and thick but fairly standard overall. The salsa tasted freshly prepared and full of flavor. Our visit was continuing to look positive for El Jinete.
I ordered the lunch fajitas with chicken, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions. This comes served with guacamole, lettuce, sour cream, pico de gallo, rice, beans, and flour tortillas ($7.25). The chicken mix came out sizzling hot and the side plate was hot to the touch as well. The portion size was excellent for the price and everything tasted great! I really liked the addition of mushrooms and tomatoes into the mix. My only complaint was that the tortillas didn’t seem as fresh as the rest of the food. I had a hard time splitting them apart once I took them out of the foil wrapper.
My wife created her own lunch combo with a chile relleno and a chicken chimichanga served with rice and refried beans ($6.25). At first we weren’t sure that she was given a chimichanga, as it wasn’t served fried like we are used to. Turns out they offer both fried and soft chimichangas, and it seems that she was given a soft one by default. Even though it probably would have been better fried (what isn’t?), she was happy with the selection and loved the cheese sauce on top. The chicken that was served inside the chimichanga was not dry at all and was well flavored. The chile relleno was also very good and was smothered in a delicious red sauce.
They also offer kids plates for $3.99 which is a choice of taco, enchilada, burrito, cheeseburger, pizza, hotdog, chicken nuggets, mozzarella sticks, or quesadilla. Each comes with either rice, beans, or fries. We selected a cheese quesadilla with fries for our son, and he seemed very happy with the choice.
Overall we were very happy with the food at El Jinete, the service was great, and the price was just right. The menu is very large, so we will definitely be back to sample more in the near future. We often get coupons in the mail, so make sure to look in yours for even more savings!